As photographers, we’re so often bound by the rules of the game. Hold your camera correctly, keep your horizon straight, check your histograms, remember the rule of thirds, close your mouth when you chew, etc. Don’t you ever just feel like breaking ALL of the rules… even for a little while?
One of the things I do that I find to be really invigorating is shooting from the hip. It’s not hard to do — you just pick up your camera, go somewhere, and take a picture without looking through the viewfinder. It doesn’t have to actually be from your hip, but it can be if you’d like. See something that looks interesting? Just click! Another thing I like to do is take pictures while I’m walking with my camera in my hand at my side. It looks like I’m just walking along, but I’m really taking snapshots of points of interest. That’s how I got this silhouette shot.
I’m always surprised at the results that I get from doing this sort of thing. Most turn out really crappy, but some actually turn out better than they would have if you were trying to get the shot. There’s a lot that you can teach yourself by analyzing the composition and lighting of your “Hip Shots”. Why? Because you’re outside the box and you’re getting shots you would normally never allow yourself to take.
One last note: wide angle lenses are great for this type of thing — all 3 of the shots above were taken with my 10-20mm zoom. The DOF is awesome, you don’t have to be dead-on with your aim, and it’s a lot of fun to do a drive-by on your Dad 12 inches from his face while he’s trying to drink a beer.